South African golfing sensation Ernie Els will be one of the biggest local and international names that will grace the 10th edition of the Joburg Open when it tees off at the majestic Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Course in Lombardy East on Thursday January 14.


This will be the first time that the Big Easy, as Els is affectionately known in the golfing world, takes part in the tournament. The Joburg Open, one of the most prestigious golf tournaments on the South African and European golf circuit, is hosted by the City of Johannesburg. Els will be among 210 participants from as far afield as New Zealand, the United States and Thailand and other countries who will be vying for the €200 000 ( R3.7-million) top prize. All the players who make the halfway cut will share €1.5 million (R27.7-million) in prizes.


This premier golf event, won by England’s Andy Sullivan last year, will be broadcast in 35 countries, providing Johannesburg with great opportunities to market the city, its rich culture and world-class facilities.


Acting Johannesburg Executive Mayor Councillor Mally Mokoena said at the launch of this year’s tournament in Sandton on Monday night that more than 400 million television viewers around the world would watch the event.


“The Joburg Open affirms Joburg as a world-class African city with world-class infrastructure. Having successfully hosted major sporting events, and the recent EcoMobility World Festival and the AfriCities Summit, Johannesburg is ready to play host to all local and international golfers. We urge all Johannesburg residents to support the Joburg Open and make the 10th edition a most memorable one. I’d like to wish the players luck as they tee off,” said Cllr Mokoena.


A major draw card for both local and international golfers is the fact that the Joburg Open is the only Sunshine Tour event to form part of the Open Championship Qualifying Series introduced in 2014. Hundreds of aspirant golfers will get tips from some of the participants during a development clinic on Wednesday January 13.


Local residents and sporting fans are encouraged to attend this year’s Joburg Open. Entrance fee is R50 a day or R200 for the entire tournament.